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Friday, March 13, 2009

Desert Ramblings with a pipe of peace




We humans communicate with symbols, spoken symbols, symbols written. As in the Rene Magritte painting, "The Treachery of Images" -- the words in French translated: "This is not a pipe." We could say this symbol is once removed. A realistic depiction of a smoking pipe, no abstractions involved, so this painting symbolizes a "real" smoking pipe. Of course an abstract image could be said to be twice (and more) removed from the "actual" -- the material. And Magritte plays a double trick, he paints the realistic image of the smoking pipe, with the symbolism of a painted image, and then uses the "words" below it to announce to the viewer that this "pipe" is not a "real" pipe. And the viewer reads the symbols of the alphabet that combines unique individual symbols (letters) to create yet a far more complex symbol (a word) and further by combining these complex units of symbols (words) Magritte (and all writers) create a sentence, a complete thought. And where am I going with all this? Of course, to pronounce that we humans are creatures of symbols, and so too are our stories, even the one about "In the beginning ..." this "God" created everything (everything in the world we find ourselves dwelling within) and because this ... this ... this un-nameable something ... this something that we can only communicate about to one another with our human symbols when written spell "GOD" and what else? How does one attempt to speak of the ... the the? With the only thing we symbolic-communicating creatures have, our vocabulary of our self. And we speak of "the the" in anthropomorphic terms, the only ones that our symbolic-communicating minds can grasp in a storytelling sort of way. Otherwise, if we cannot accept this, this symbolic communication, then we cannot speak, and just shrug our shoulders, and then in dumbness touch only that which is touchable.

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